‘Our athletes gave their best’: Former sprinter Heather Samuel-Daley commends Olympic athletes

Daley also held the country’s national record at 11.20 for 28 years. (File photo)
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By Neto Baptiste

Four-time Olympian and former national sprinter, Heather Samuel-Daley, has commended the country’s athletes for their efforts and participation at the 2020 Olympic Games being held in Japan.

Daley, who specialised in the 100m and 200m sprints during her career, said that although she was not too pleased with the performance of the country’s senior sprinter Cejhae Greene whom she coached in the early stages of his career, the experience could only serve to strengthen his resolve going forward.

“How mentally strong he is after this happened will tell me what kind of man he is, because sometimes when we expect real good things, it’s sometimes our worst performance, and for him to be talking like how he is talking now that he was disappointed with himself, expecting to do better and it didn’t happen, then I am sure he can only get stronger from here,” she said.

“I was particularly pleased with Joella; I think she handled the situation very well. She showed more strength and more mental fortitude than anybody else and for her to go out there and run 11.5 twice when she ran 11.5 in the preliminaries and then come back and run 11.5 again, it shows she is mentally stronger than what a lot of us expected,” she added. 

Running in lane five, heat six of the 100 meters last Saturday, Greene clocked 10.25 seconds to finish sixth in the opening round of the men’s marquee event. Only the top three finishers advanced to the second round.

Daley also commended boxer Alston Ryan for his bravery, adding that had it not been for what she said was the luck of the draw, the England-based fighter may had advanced to the second round of his discipline.

“Alston is capable and it was just the luck of the draw and the fact that Alston was not fighting. He missed put on competitions because they were canceled and so on, and you can’t blame anybody on this because it is just the reality of Covid. Jalese would have been somewhere in Europe training all this time so it’s just that sometimes you meet conditions that you just can’t navigate through,” she said.

Noting that swimmers Samantha Roberts and Stefano Mitchell also gave good account of themselves while noting that sailor Jalese Gordon was able to go the distance of all 10 races at her first Olympic Games, Daley believes the future is bright for all six athletes.

She however believes there is need for more outside exposure from a competition standpoint in order to fully prepare young athletes.

“The amount of meets that we participate in, the quality of meets that we participate in, and the other supporting cast in terms of the physiotherapy that our athletes get, how well do they respond after injury, what kind of treatment they get and so on because those kind of things are very important as well as the supplementation in terms of who is subsidising their supplements, transportation, nutrition and all these sort of things,” the former athlete said.

Daley also held the country’s national record at 11.20 for 28 years before it was broken by Joella Lloyd who ran 11.19 at the Tennessee Challenge at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium in Knoxville in May.

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